Re-discovered Yiddish songs performed in Richmond Hill

Sophie Milman
Premiere of all-star singers is Jan. 27

Richmond Hill Liberal
In a dramatic discovery, fit for Hollywood, University of Toronto professor Anna Shternshis found thousands of long-lost Yiddish songs buried deep in the archives. None have been performed in nearly 70 years. Until now.

These songs dated to 1947, all composed or sung during the Second World War. Leading Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologists and linguists, including legendary Moisei Beregovsky, had archived this music by Jewish refugees, Jewish soldiers in the Red Army and Holocaust survivors, who had defied Hitler in song. Stalin’s authorities arrested Beregovsky and his colleagues in 1950.

Scholars believed the documents were destroyed forever.

Now, an all-star super group of award winners, singers, composers and legends have come together to resurrect the heartfelt and defiant Yiddish songs that were thought lost to history.

Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of Life and Fate, from Show One Productions, is an evening of world, jazz, folk and classical musicians from Canada and Russia, coming to Richmond Hill Jan. 27 to bring a piece of the past to life.

Sophie Milman, Juno award-winning singer, who will be performing in the feature, holds the story close.

“The story of these songwriters is my family’s story,” Milman says.
“The poems and songs Anna unearthed cover the gamut of these experiences: patriotism, hatred of the enemy, the desire to fight and defend the homeland, belief in the communist ideal (and subsequent disappointment and abandonment of that ideal), families torn apart, grief, murder, families reunited, post war betrayal and mistreatment of Jewish people by the same government they put their faith in and fought for.”

Join the premiere on Jan. 27, at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge St. at 8 p.m.

Tickets, from $45 to $85, are available from, the box office at 905-787-8811, or at

by Jonalyn Aguilar